Up until a few days ago, Seattle to me was the city of Grey’s Anatomy, rain and ferries. It was all I knew about it, but I was keen to discover what else this place had to offer besides its iconic Space Needle. So here’s an overview of what I’ve been up to these past 4 days.
I arrived late Monday evening, after a 7 hour flight from Reykjavik, where I had my layover, after a 3 hour flight from Brussels. Relatively short compared to other flights I’ve taken to Asia or Australia. I sat in between two really nice blokes from the US on the way there. One was from California, was married to a Norwegian woman and was on his way back from travelling through Scandinavia. The other guy was a local Seattle guy working for Microsoft, excited to be reunited with his girlfriend after 30 days of travelling through Tanzania, Kroatia, Slovenia, The Netherlands and Iceland. He gave me some great tips of places to eat and sightsee in Seattle and told me a bit more about the city. Off to a good start.
It’s a short and easy ride from the airport to the city and so without any trouble I arrived in my hostel about 7.30pm. Despite being really tired, I didn’t get much sleep on the first night. Jetlag, I guess.
The next day, I was up by 5am, but lay in bed until 7 before heading out to the Space Needle. I thought I’d start by going to see the touristic highlights first before deciding what else I wanted to do. But first I want to mention something else, a part of travelling that not a lot of people talk about. I’m sure it seems that I was having a great time by the looks of my Instagram feed or Facebook, but somehow the first day I was overcome by anxiety and homesickness. I wanted to go home. Why? I don’t know. It’s never happened before, but I guess it’s part of travelling too. I just let it happen and let it pass. But anyways, I went to the Space Needle and it seemed I was the first one there. It was a cloudy and cold morning, a typical occurrence in Seattle, I’ve learned (the hard way, by slowly turning into an ice cube myself every morning). The view was good, but as far as loving city life, I’d have to say it’s not my cup of tea. Gimme flowers, the green, the water. Turns out I need my daily portion of grass (That doesn’t make me a cow, now, does it?). So, the view was good, but I’m not much for the concrete, urban jungle.
After visiting Seattle’s iconic landmark, I went next door to the EMP Museum. Basically, it’s a museum that exhibits pop culture, ranging from music to science fiction, horror and fantasy. I especially enjoyed the great music hall they had so I sat there for half an hour watching music videos. Seriously, I’ve never seen a screen that big!
That same day, I went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition. Although I originally had booked a 3pm ticket, the lady at the front desk was nice enough to let me go in sooner, so I didn’t have to sit around and wait. I don’t know if it was the beautiful glass works or finally seeing some flowers and green stuff (plants! grass! trees!) that made my mood that much better, no more homesickness, yay! Or maybe I’m just really influenced by the weather, because the sun had come out too.
I decided I had more than enough spare time to take the Monorail into the city centre to do some Sephora make up shopping. Just a tiny bit of heaven for any make up lover. All the brand that we don’t get in Belgium, amazing! Needless to say a bit of damage was done. At least I’ll look good when I’m broke.
After that I went back to my hostel, the City Hostel Seattle, which I would recommend. I stayed in a four bedroom all female dorm with a bathroom attached (what a luxury, really, it’s so convenient not having to drag all your clothes and toiletries down the hall and having to go back half-naked when you realise you forgot your shampoo (yes, that’s happened to me)). The staff was very friendly and helpful, breakfast was good (toast, fruit, cereal, free coffee and tea) and linens (except for towels) were included. Plus it is located walking distance from pretty much all the sights.
I decided that the day shouldn’t be over yet, so I grabbed my book and walked towards the Waterfront, where I took a stroll on the boardwalk, before basking in the sun whilst reading my book. The water always has a calming effect on me for some reason. Perhaps I was a mermaid once, who knows. In any case, I enjoyed some people-watching, some reading, some walking, before heading back to my hostel, where I met a girl from LA, Tanya.
She and I started chatting and when I suggested to have dinner together, we ended up planning an entire night. We had dinner downtown, took an Uber (Thank you, Tanya, for introducing me to the wonderful world of Uber) to the Columbia Centre (Thanks, Heleen, for the recommendation!). One of the highlights of my stay in Seattle to say the least. We made it well in time before sunset and with a 360° view over the city, the water and mountains (you can see mount Rainier from up there) from the 73rd floor, we had quite the spectacular evening in store for us.
Taking advantage of having a like-minded friend, Tanya and I decided to take an Uber to Fremont the next morning. It’s supposed to be this more artsy, relaxed and alternative area North of Seattle. We went to Gas Works Park, where I turned into an ice cube again, walked up underneath the bridge to see the Fremont troll (it’s pretty cool, I like it a lot), before realising that that was pretty much it and heading back to our hostel. I took some time to edit my photos, have a little nap before saying goodbye to Tanya, who was headed back to LA.
I took another stroll down to the water because I liked it so much the day before and this time I bought myself a ticket for the Seattle Great Wheel. I got one of the booths all to myself and the staff was kind of making fun of me for going on the wheel all by myself, but I couldn’t have cared less. YOLO. If I wanna go on the ferris wheel, I’ll go on the ferris wheel.
The third full day, also my last day, I went to one of the other must-sees of Seattle, Pike Place Market. It sounded very touristy, so I wasn’t too keen, but I actually really enjoyed it. It was busy, but I enjoyed seeing the crowds, smelling the different foods and I loved how colourful the market is. If you’re into trying new foods, or want to get some cool souvenirs, this is the place to be. I spent a good amount of time in Starbucks (not the first and therefore oldest one,that one was way too crowded) sipping a mango carrot smoothie before heading to the Seattle Art Museum, which was big, but didn’t have any art that really sparked my interest.
Finally, I went to see the Gum Wall, which is located in a tiny alley near the market. It’s both gross as well as intriguing. It’s so disgusting you can’t look away and you decide to take a selfie instead of questioning this “art form”.
And that’s pretty much what I did with my time. I spent the final afternoon relaxing in my room, talking to my new roomies, who joined me for dinner too (from Korea and Germany), and packing. I also found out my final exam results ever! I passed everything, so that calls for a celebration when I get to Vancouver (I’m on the train writing this). I’m happy.
Until the next stop :-)